A popular Facebook influencer and blogger, Ogechi Njaka has sued the Nigeria Police Force, Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Interpol, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and one Maryam Shehu Ifa for allegedly violating her fundamental human rights.
She also accused the defendants of publishing and declaring her wanted vide a special gazetted police bulletin and placing her name and picture on the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) notice board without a valid court order.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/676/2020, Ogechi through her lawyer, Samuel Ihensekhien, is asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the defendants to pay her N100 billion for the “physical, mental, emotional, psychological and other damages” suffered as a result of the alleged infringements on her constitutional rights.
She also asked the court to void the trending online wanted declaration notice and Nigeria Police/red notice Interpol special gazetted notice declaring her wanted for a non-criminal offence of defamatory issues between her and Maryam Shehu.
“We are no longer the illiterates or the mob society our colonial masters had in mind when the law was promulgated. To retain Section 51 of the Criminal Code, in its present form, that is even if not inconsistent with the freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution will be a deadly weapon to be used at will by a corrupt government or a tyrant. Let us not diminish from the freedom gained from our colonial masters by resorting to laws enacted by them to suit their purpose,” her lawyer said.
“The laws enacted by our colonial masters and imposed on the country include the Official Secrets Act and the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to sedition and criminal libel. As criticism is indispensable in a democratic society Olatawura J.C.A charged the Nigerian people to defend their hard-won freedom of expression at all times. According to his lordship:
“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.”